Father apologises for Dunford's '˜deceit' over Sussex child murder

FThe husband of a woman jailed for life for murdering their son in Sussex apologised for her '˜deceit' today (Friday, April 15).

Friday, 15th April 2016, 2:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:11 pm
Collect of Wayne Dunford of Exeter, Devon, with his baby Harley. Photo courtesy of SWNS

Wayne Dunford said he was ‘truly sorry’ for Lesley Dunford’s ‘lies’ after the 37-year-old mother was sentenced for murdering their seven-month old son Harley in Pelwood Road, Camber, East Sussex, in August, 2003.

Dunford, now of Windermere Close, Exeter, Devon, was also convicted of manslaughter over the death of her three-year-old daughter Lucy six months before killing Harley.

“This has been a very difficult time for myself,” the father of both children Mr Dunford said.

“Lesley lied to me about what had happened with the children.

“She was very good at this and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to family and friends for this deceit that lasted for a decade. I am truly sorry.”

Dunford pleaded guilty to Harley’s murder in March after changing her plea twice.

Harley’s death was investigated by police at the time and following a post-mortem the cause of death was recorded as pneumonia and there was no evidence to justify any criminal proceedings.

She was then convicted at Lewes Crown Court on June 20, 2012, for killing Lucy at the family home on February 2, 2004, and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

But in 2014, Dunford, by then in prison, began a series of verbal and written admissions to prison staff, about killing Harley by smothering him in his cot.

Police were informed and in June detectives interviewed her under caution about Harley’s death.

She made no comment but by that time she had already confirmed her various verbal admissions by making a complete written admission in prison, unprompted and in her own handwriting.

Two specialist pathologists, in paediatric pathology and in forensic pathology, reviewed the forensic evidence on Harley’s death.

They concluded that the forensic evidence, taken alongside Lesley Dunford’s detailed confessions, was consistent with suffocation.

Detective Chief Inspector Wendy Burton, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said; “This has been a tragic case, in which two children have lost their lives and their family has been stricken by terrible heartache.

“Both investigations were complex. A key factor in both was forensic evidence, and in cases of very young children that can be very difficult to interpret in a way that the criminal justice system can deal with.

“But Lesley Dunford then confessed, on several occasions, verbally and in writing, to killing Harley too.

“This, together with the forensic review, was fully considered by the CPS who authorised her prosecution.

“Justice has now been done and our sympathies are with little Harley and Lucy.”

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